St Lucia is a cheerful island with sloping vegetated hillsides, vibrant pink and orange buildings, and busy villages filled with smiling patriotic St Lucians. Its fertile soils abound with over 30 varieties of ripe mangoes, banana and coconut plantations line the roadside, and the translucent blue colour of the sky matches the colour of the ocean. The smell of fresh seafood wafts through the air and a freshly prepared rum punch beckons from the bar. This is St Lucia: where the Caribbean lifestyle never fails to win you over. Here are some of our favourite things to do in St Lucia:
1. Swim with horses
Enjoy a gentle trot down to the ocean with International Pony Club. You’ll pass local homes along the way and head down to the beach for a chance to swim with the horses (riding waist deep in the ocean without a saddle). Don’t worry if the horses growl – this has to do with the pressure on their bellies and is not a sign of animosity. A restaurant and bar can be found on the beach where handmade arts and crafts are for sale.
2. Hike the Pitons
The two Pitons in St Lucia, namely the large Gros Piton and smaller Petit Piton, tower over 700 metres above the Caribbean Sea. Formed by volcanic activity over 200,000 years ago, these beautiful green mountains are one of the most recognisable icons on the island of St Lucia. Both Pitons offer challenging climbs and can also be explored with an underwater dive. “Every hike is the scenic route” and taking a guide with you is recommended. Find out more.
3. Set off on a sunset cruise
The weekly sunset cruise at Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort is not your usual sunset cruise, offering a bar load of rum punch and an exciting Caribbean dance competition where you can shake your booty to win a bottle of Bounty rum. Experience the coast of St Lucia from the water and pass some notable hotels along the way to Rodney Bay Marina and back. The cruise departs from the Landings Marina at 17h00 every Wednesday. (Other days are available for requested bookings).
4. Go ziplining
Experience the thrill of a zipline through the treetops of a tropical rainforest with Treetop Adventure Tours, named “best zipline in the Caribbean”. There are 12 different ziplines: can you brave the longest and highest zipline on the island, reaching a staggering 35 metres? There is also a mini zipline course for kids aged 3 years and up. Adrena-Line Canopy Tour offers a smaller zipline near Port Castries.
5. Ride an aerial tram
Ziplining too Tarzan for you? The aerial tram may be more up your alley. An open, barred cable car silently slides guests from the ground to the heights of St Lucia’s forest reserve. From your birds’ eye vantage, you can enjoy fantastic views of the natural surroundings, keeping an eye out for hummingbirds and bananaquits. The tour also includes a fern nature trail.
6. Dance at the Gros Islet Street Party
Every Friday night, a little street in Rodney Bay comes alive with Caribbean and reggae music, karaoke, and street food stalls. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists to mingle and enjoy a variety of traditional Caribbean food – just watch out for the kidney kebabs which are easily mistaken for beef! If you enjoy a little boogie and can handle the crowds, this is a great way to kick-start the weekend.
7. Dine at Rainforest Hideaway
This family owned restaurant is one of the top restaurants in St Lucia, according to TripAdvisor. Situated on the other side of Marigot’s inner bay, the Rainforest Hideaway has no road access and is reached by a short (free) ferry trip across the bay. With a romantic alfresco setting and an underwater-lit lagoon, you can sit back and enjoy a glass of champagne and soft Jazz music while you peruse the sophisticated Caribbean menu. The restaurant is open five nights a week with live Jazz music on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
8. Visit Pigeon Island
Pigeon Island is one of St Lucia’s most important historic attractions. It was here that the British kept an eye on the movements of the French in Martinique from well-located lookout points during the struggle for the control of St Lucia. Today, the island is connected by a causeway to the mainland and is a popular spot for hiking and views of the northwest coast of St Lucia. Check out the interpretation centre, have lunch at a small restaurant, or relax on one of the two white sandy beaches. Water taxis depart from Rodney Bay.
9. Browse the Castries Market
The bustling Castries Market, tucked beneath a bright orange roof, is a local market full of colour and a vibrant hum. It’s a great spot for local shopping with a variety of handicrafts, batiks, woodcarvings, clothing, spices, fresh fruit and vegetables, and hot pepper sauces. Don’t forget to try the banana ketchup! While the market is open every day, Saturday is the busiest day.
10. Explore Marigot Bay
Marigot Bay is arguably the most beautiful bay in St Lucia with palm fringed white sands and yachts dotting the blue bay. It’s famously the film location for Doctor Doolittle (1967). For the best view of Marigot Bay, drive along the coastal route and stop off at one of the viewpoints. If you’d prefer a close-up view, water shuttles depart from hotels and head to the bay from the opposite side. Want to extend your visit? Stay at Capella Marigot Bay.
11. Visit Diamond Falls
The Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens are one of the most spectacular natural wonders on the island of St Lucia, home to the Diamond Waterfall (the most colourful in the Caribbean) and several hot mineral springs which have great medicinal value for people with joint or muscle pain.
12. Soak in a hot spring
Meet the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano. The Sulphur Springs Park in the crater of the Soufriere volcano is an active geothermal area filled with hot rocks and boiling pools of water, despite the last eruption having happened over 40,000 years ago. Enjoy a full body mud bath and soak in the nearby steaming sulphur pools. The mud is believed to have healing properties.
13. Do a turtle tour
Camp out under the stars on a remote section of Grande Anse Beach and enjoy one-of-a-kind Leatherback turtle watching. Between March and August, the turtles crawl out of the ocean onto the beach to lay their eggs (up to 500 at a time!). Make sure you buy a camera with an infra-red flash as these are the only ones allowed.
14. Cook like a local
Enjoy St Lucian cooking classes with locally trained chef, Nigel Mitchel at Ladera Resort. Browse the local Morning Market for fresh ingredients and learn to make local favourites such as green fig, saltfish, jerk fish rotis, and bouyon stew. Prefer a liquid diet? You can also sign up for a mixology class.
15. Visit Rodney Bay
Rodney Bay is the tourist mecca of Saint Lucia with a postcard marina and yachts bobbing in the breeze. The marina is filled with hotels, restaurants, and a large shopping mall while the bay, home to the beautiful white sands of Reduit Beach, is one of the best spots for watersports in the Caribbean – from Jetovators and kitesurfing to snuba (a combination of snorkelling and scuba diving). If you’re looking to enjoy dinner outside of your resort, head to Spice of India for some of the best homemade Indian cuisine in an intimate setting.
16. Hike the Enbas Saut Waterfall Trail
The Enbos Saut Waterfall Trail lies on the slopes of Mount Gimie, the highest mountain in St Lucia. The trail meanders through thick rainforest to a beautiful waterfall and lasts two and a half hours. Keep an eye out for exquisite birdlife, such as the St Lucia parrot (the national bird) and St Lucia oriole. Good hiking shoes are required.
17. Relax on black sand beaches
As Saint Lucia is a volcanic island, it is home to several dark sandy beaches. Relax on the black sand beaches of Anse Chastanet, Anse Cochon, Anse des Pitons, and Soufriere Beach.
18. Pose with a snake
As you’re winding through the hilltop roads of St Lucia, keep an eye out for local “snake men” on the side of the road. These men make their living out of keeping non-poisonous snakes as pets (there are only 5 species of snakes in St Lucia, only one of which is poisonous). You’ll be able to wrap a boa constrictor around your neck and pose for a photo – as long as you tip the snake’s owner afterwards.
19. Snorkel at Anse Chastanet
Anse Chastanet is undoubtedly the best beach for snorkelling and diving in St Lucia with crystal-clear water and incredible sea life close to the shore. Snorkel through the warm ocean coral reefs of the Marine Park and spot coloured sea sponges, and soft, boulder, and brain corals. The beach also offers spectacular views of the Pitons. Guests staying at Anse Chastanet or Jade Mountain can enjoy easy access to the beach, but even guests staying elsewhere can enjoy lunch at the hotel’s restaurant (if they can brave the terribly steep slope up to the hotel).
20. Chocolate: tree to bar experience
Chocolate lovers will love a visit to Boucan by Hotel Chocolat and its sprawling cocoa plantations. The Tree to Bar Experience offers the chance to get completely involved in the chocolate making process – with plenty of sampling opportunities along the way! Enjoy self-guided trails, pick your own ripe cacao pods from the trees, and roast the cocoa beans to make your very own chocolate bar. You’ll get sneak peeks into the seedling nursery, fermenting room, sun drying station, and take part in the grinding, mixing, and tasting process.